An ever-changing world needs ever-evolving engineers, and Smith Engineering continues to amplify its ability to train students to tackle complex global challenges.

Faculty educators are visiting key sites around the globe to see how other engineering schools are encouraging critical thought and cross-disciplinary approaches to their educational offerings.

Led by Mechanical and Materials Engineering head Keith Pilkey and Dupont Canada Chair in Engineering Education Research and Development Brian Frank, a contingent of academics from Smith Engineering traveled to the Netherlands to meet with counterparts at Delft University of Technology on September 20.

One of the world’s leading research universities, Delft consistently ranks in the top 20 for Engineering & Technology in the QS World University Rankings by Subject. Focusing on “Impact for a Better Society,” and factoring national research priorities as well as international priorities—such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals—the research faculty addresses societal themes that can incorporate collaboration across disciplines, with industry, and community partners. In fact, assignments often come from industry partners. Delft Design Labs launched in 2017 to “unite scientists, [Industrial Design Engineering] students, and societal partners… so that the student work would contribute more to knowledge development in design research.”

"Delft's attention to quality of education is evident in their engineering programs, in particular the use of very high quality problems, derived from industry and research activities, in their undergraduate program,” says Frank. “Smith Engineering has been leading the charge in Canada on internship development and hands-on education, and we can find a lot to admire in Delft's approach to connecting research activities to undergraduate education."

"Innovative real-world learning models like the 'gap year' D:DREAM Team program, a strong international student base, and growing number of female faculty show the kind of new thinking in engineering education we're also championing here in Canada. It's a privilege to meet and work with them, and I'm looking forward to continuing this collaboration going forward."

Delft University of Technology was just one stop on a global voyage for the Smith Engineering team, as they travel the U.S. and Europe to meet with other engineering leaders. “We teach our students to be curious, to always look for new ideas and better methods,” says Pilkey. “That’s the spirit of this project, going from great to greater, toward a model of engineering education that is technically rigorous, experientially focused, socially conscious and creatively inspired.”




This article is relevant to the following Strategic Actions as defined in the Strategic Plan: